23 April 2005 | Theo Robertson
I Remember Not Liking This ...
... And having seen a repeated episode earlier today I now know why
BARBARA is yet another in a long line of sit coms featuring dysfunctional middle class types . In fact there's so many of these instantly forgettable comedies that if I listed half of them I would use up my 1000 word limit As mentioned there's two things that make this alleged comedy so memorably awful . One is its pathetic attempt at bad taste comedy . For example todays episode featured a mother husband and wife discussing the eponymous Barbara babysitting . " I'm so glad my mother volunteered to babysit for us " Cut to a wide shot as the baby's pram sails down the hill and ends up in the river . Of course you do quickly jump to the conclusion that the baby isn't actually inside the pram which spoils the pay off as Barbara turns round with the tiny child in her hands as she watches her daughter and son in law frantically jump into the river to rescue their offspring
This telegraphs the show's second obvious failing - The predictability factor . For example one of Barbara's neighbour pops round to her house to give the family a video that's been pirated " If I get caught doing this I'll be charged with distributing pirated videotapes " . As soon as you hear this you instantly know where this is heading . Same as a scene where Barbara's husband is dressed as a fox ( Don't ask ) , his car breaks down so he takes a short cut through a field to the nearest garage . So he's in the English countryside dressed as a fox , I wonder if someone nearby is having a fox hunt ? Yup thought so .
ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE also has comedy come out of unlikely coincidences but that classic comedy is well written enough to make you forget the unlikely scenarios and the cast manage to disguise any remaining short comings . With BARBARA however you get the impression that the cast realise they're appearing in a pile of crap but don't really care because it helps pay the mortgage